Shirline Broussard and husband Hardy of Orange, have grown fond of several out of state workers that have been in the area for almost a year. Working under FEMA contracts since before the first trailers started rolling in, Several of them have been staying at Country Living R.V. Park, which is owned by the Broussards.
Originally the workers set up FEMA trailers and now, they are deactivating and removing them.
Friday, several of the workers are headed home.
Roberto Paredes has worked disasters for ten years. “There is not enough work to keep everybody here,” he said. Things in this area are winding down.
Most will go home for a visit, then on to the next disaster. “If you work, you can have a job,” said Paredes. He said he intends to work disasters “for the rest of my life.”
Originally from Panama, Paredes has been in the states for 19 years. His home base is in Greensboro, N.C.
Brothers, Cecil and Dill Tucker, plumbers from Black Hawk, Miss. have been working disasters since Hurricane Katrina.
“We needed a boat motor,” said Cecil. They thought working the disaster would be a good way to earn the $20,000 needed for the motor. They enjoyed the work and have continued. The pair headed back home last week to work in Mississippi, which is still under major recovery from Katrina.
They live under the same primitive conditions as everyone else. “You better stop long before you get [to disaster sites}, to stock up on vienna sausage, sardines, water and gas, because there won’t be any when you get there,” said Cecil. “You can’t have enough.”
Thank goodness for the Red Cross,” said Paredes. “Your a victim too, nothing’s available when you get there.”
Crews never know where they are going until the next morning, when they get the work orders. They worked from Orange County to Galveston. “You take it day by day,” said Cecil. “I don’t keep up with what day or month it is.
“You make good money and I like helping people,” said Paredes.
He also said that helping people was more important than the money. “When you’ve lost everything… your living…I’m glad to help people.” He finds the work fulfilling, but hard. “You don’t have no idea what your going to find when you get there.”
Paredes said he will miss the people. “Texas has treated me good.”
Mrs. Broussard is going to miss them too.